Friday, April 18, 2014

Coin Appears to Be Headed toward Failure

Remember Coin? They caused a stir last year with a video about how their device could replace all of your wallet's credit cards. You could bring the George Costanza wallet into the digital age.

Reading over the FAQ section, either the company is running out of money or has a fundamentally flawed understanding of how customers behave. Companies that can appease customers' risk aversion can go far; look at how reassuring Zappos's return policy is.

I've launched a pretend conversation below.

FAQ section: How much does a Coin cost? Each Coin costs $100. For you early adopters there is a very limited quantity that can be purchased for $50.

Risk-averse consumer: I have the choice of buying now and getting an as-yet unfinished product at an unknown time, or waiting and feeling a loss of paying nearly double.

FAQ: How many cards can a Coin hold? A. The Coin mobile app can store an unlimited number of cards, however, a Coin can hold up to 8 cards at a time.

RAC: I'm probably one of the 90+% of people who can get by with only eight cards, but this limit is freaking me out! I hate this just like how I hate cellphone companies limit my monthly data usage, and how I worried about my download limit with my cable provider until they caved.

FAQ: Why do I have to buy a new Coin when my battery runs out? A. Coin is the size of a typical credit card and we were not able to fit a replaceable battery nor recharging components into this form factor. Coin is an electronic device, not a plastic card. We must charge for each device to cover the costs of research and development, manufacturing, and support.

RAC: This is another thing for me to stress about. Why won't you let me charge it? How can I believe your claims about the typical battery life? What if it runs out at an inopportune time (after all, I will have left all of my other cards at home and have no way to settle my bill)? Can't this come with some sort of warranty? I would feel terrible about buying something that I already bought.

FAQ: How do I get help or support? A. Please email us at We currently only offer email support. Our support hours are 8 am-5 pm PT Monday-Friday.

RAC: That sounds vaguely uninspiring.